With a trip to Italy out of the picture at the moment, Rome came to downtown St. Louis in early November last year, in the form of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition. The 27,625-square-foot America’s Ballroom on the second floor of America’s Center Convention Complex became the venue for the international touring exhibit, an immersive experience featuring 34 displayed works by the Renaissance artist, recreated close to their original size.
The opening was launched with a virtual press conference on StreamStage, Explore St. Louis’ hybrid meeting facility. Held over 37 days, the event sold 15,457 tickets — creating a tourism opportunity in downtown St. Louis during the pandemic, generating more than $210,000 in revenue and operating profit, and utilizing the GBAC STAR–accredited facility during a period when it would have otherwise been dark.
America’s Center’s rigorous health safety protocols for the exhibition included touch- free entry doors, infrared temperature screenings upon entry, mandatory face coverings and social distancing, abundant signage, and sanitization of all surfaces as well as employing several hourly staff for cleaning, security, and concessions.
The reviews are in and both the venue and works of art earned high scores from guests. In follow-up surveys, visitors gave strong positive reviews for both the exhibit and for America’s Center’s health and safety measures.
Barbara Palmer is deputy editor of Convene.